This gives a whole new meaning to NFL draft.
Starting today, Vikings fans can get their hands on 52 by 612Brew, a limited release collaboration between the Northeast brewery and Kyle Rudolph. It's a beer you can feel good about buying, too; proceeds from the collab help support Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a state-of-the-art patient- and family-centered space for healing that just opened up at the U of M Masonic Children's Hospital.
Sharp-eyed members of the Vikings faithful will notice that while it's roll-off-the-tongue catchy, the beer's name -- 52 by 612Brew -- doesn't reflect Rudolph's number. (He wears the oh-so-close 82 on the field.)
That's because it refers to a certain massive sporting event that's coming to town in February -- maybe you've heard of it, the, uh, Super Bowl? -- which is in its 52nd year. The football fans over at 612 had already been kicking around the idea of doing a big game brew when the opportunity to work with Rudolph arose.
"We wanted to really celebrate Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the big game," says 612 co-founder and brewer Robert Kasak. "When else will we have an opportunity like this?"
“And now we’ve got our favorite Viking, who’s a great guy," adds co-owner Adit Kalra.
Okay, but how much did Rudolph actually have to do with developing the beer? He's been kind of busy helping the Vikings clinch the NFC North.
“We wanted him very much a part of the process, from designing the can to the colors to how he wanted his logo to work,” Kalra says.
That the beer is a lager is Rudolph's doing, too -- Kasak had initially proposed a pale ale, but as he toured 612, Rudolph explained that he'd prefer something a little less niche and more easy-drinkin', something his friends and family would throw back as they watched a game.
“I thought, we could actually do a really good American premium lager that could showcase what we do at 612Brew and really hold up to what the big boys are doing,” Kasak says.
The result is a light, classic lager (5.2% ABV, 10 IBU) that goes down smooth and pairs well with an afternoon of football. It's an elevated take on what some of the national brands are brewing: crisp, yeasty, satisfying, and still endlessly sippable.
“We’re showcasing what local, craft, independent breweries can do," Kasak explains. "You can hold our beer up to any other macro brand lager and find just as much quality, more craft, and the spirit of an American premium lager.”
52 by 612 is available in the brewery's taproom (945 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis), in four packs at liquor stores throughout the metro area (France 44, Total Wines, and South Lyndale Liquors, to name a few), and at all Crave locations, where a buck from each pint sold goes to support Rudolph's charity.